By Rory Nakpil (2022)
Photo by Dr. Leonard Pascual
A grand total of one hundred and forty three students (135 members of Class 2019 and 8 MD-PhDs) marched, and donned their togas, caps, and hoods to be officially named graduates of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine (UPCM). Together with them were their comrades and partners during internship at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), 181 post-graduate interns (PGIs). Leading the graduation were 8 cum laudes, the second ever batch of the prestigious MD-PhD degree program. Also recognized were the Master’s degree program graduates, albeit briefly as none were in attendance during the program. They named their commencement exercises “Kumandili”, affirming the care they have given as medical students, and the stewards of the health of the nation that they will become as they grow in their careers.
The ceremony began with welcome remarks by Dean of UPCM, Dr. Charlotte M. Chiong, and opening remarks by PGH Director, Dr. Gerardo D. Legaspi. Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Diliman, Dr. Michael L. Tan was the speaker for the commencement address, ingraining in the students the value of “kamusta” -the constant search for answers and knowledge that goes hand in hand with the expression of empathy.
Dr. Kyle Patrick Eugenio, president of class 2019, presented the petition for completion to the administration, and the diplomas were awarded by Dean Chiong. Dr. Rochelle Ann Micah Ventura, president of the PGH post-graduate interns presented the petition for the completion of internship for the PGIs, and their certificates were awarded by Dr. Legaspi. Dr. Josept Mari Poblete, represented the graduating MD-PhD students for their petition of completion, and their diplomas were conferred by Dr. Carmencita David-Padilla, Chancellor of the University of the Philippines Manila.
The march, and the capping and hooding of graduates proceeded, with the graduates kneeling, as their parents and family were the ones to adorn them with their regalias. A heartwarming and inspiring response from Class 2019 was read by Dr. Marianne Adrielle Tiongson with the message to be like Sisyphus, always striving to do better, become better, and grow as professionals and people, for both her classmates, colleagues, and the administration. Dr. Hanna Clementine Tan was named class valedictorian, and Dr. Francis Manuel Resma was named class salutatorian. Dr. Rudolph John de Juras was named the most outstanding intern for Class 2019. The Dr. Alfredo B. Bellisillo academic and leadership excellence award for the most outstanding MD-PhD student was given to Dr. Sheriah Laine M. de Paz. The most outstanding MD-PhD dissertation and also the Oreta-Dizon and Santos Ocampo award for medical research were given to Dr. Josept Mari Poblete. Other MD-PhD graduates were, Dr. Mark Joseph M. Abaca, Academic Distinction in Medicine Awardee, Dr. Charles Patrick Uy, Dr. Pia Regina Zamora, and Dr. Cecile C. Dungog.
Lauds and achievements aside, the graduation was a celebration of the end of the journey of these students, and the beginning of their journey as doctors and the expression and reaffirmation of their desire to serve the Filipino people through their chosen profession. Padayon to our newly minted doctors and MD-PhDs!